John Mellencamp

Birth Name: John J. Mellencamp

Place of Birth: Seymour, Indiana, U.S.

Date of Birth: October 7, 1951

Ethnicity: German, Scottish, English, Scots-Irish/Northern Irish, Irish, Welsh, French, remote Belgian/Flemish

John Mellencamp, also known as John Cougar Mellencamp, is an American singer, songwriter, musician, painter, and actor.

John is the son of Marilyn Joyce (Lowe) and Richard Lee Mellencamp. He has a daughter with his former wife, Priscilla Esterline; two children with his former wife, Victoria Granucci; and two children with his former wife, model Elainre Irwin.

John has said (starting at 51:40 here) that his great-grandmother was black, married to one of his German immigrant ancestors. It is not clear if this is accurate. He may have been referring to his paternal great-great-grandmother Martha Felmet/Phemlot, who is listed as “white” on at least some records, but could have had black ancestry.

John’s paternal grandfather was Harry Perry Mellencamp (the son of Johann/John Herman/Henry Louis Mellencamp/Mollenkamp/Melloncamp and Caroline/Carolyn “Carrie” Mary Mackey). Harry was born in Indiana. John’s great-grandfather Johann was born in Columbus, Indiana, to German parents, from Enger, Germany, Johann/John Herman Friedrich/Louis Mellencamp/Mollenkamp and Anna Maria Bramsche. Caroline was the daughter of John Henry Mackey, who was German, and of Anna Maria Angelica Munte, who was likely of German descent as well.

John’s paternal grandmother was Laura L. Noblitt (the daughter of John Franklin Noblitt and Martha Ella/Ellen Ehlers/Ellers/Ellerson/Ellis). Laura was born in Indiana. John’s great-grandfather John Noblitt was the son of Joel Vandeveer Noblitt and Elizabeth Codey McCalister/McCallister, and had Irish, French, English, Scottish, and Belgian [Flemish] ancestry. Martha was the daughter of Frederick James Ehlers, who was German, from Prussia, and of Martha Felmet/Phemlot, who was from North Carolina or Kentucky.

John’s maternal grandfather was Joseph Harrell Lowe (the son of Joseph Heber Lowe and Mary Louisa Belnap). John’s grandfather Joseph was born in Ohio. John’s great-grandfather Joseph was born in Franklin, Idaho, to Scottish parents, Thomas Lowe and Eliza Galloway. Mary Louisa was the daughter of Gilbert Rosel Belnap, who was Canadian, and of Adaline Knight, and had English, and some Scots-Irish/Northern Irish, ancestry.

John’s maternal grandmother was Bessie E. Lowry (the daughter of Charles Clinton Lowry and Cora Ethel Whitsett). Bessie was born in Indiana, and had Scots-Irish/Northern Irish, Welsh, and English, ancestry. Charles was the son of John Alvin Lowry and Martha Ellen Whitsitt. Cora was the daughter of Thomas Jefferson Whitsett and Hannah Margaret Morrison.

Sources: Genealogies of John Mellencamp –

Genealogy of John’s paternal grandmother, Laura L. Noblitt –

John’s paternal grandmother, Laura L. Noblitt, on the 1910 U.S. Census –
Laura L. Noblitt on the 1920 U.S. Census –

John’s paternal great-grandmother, Martha Ella/Ellen Ehlers/Ellers/Ellerson/Ellis, on the 1870 U.S. Census –

Genealogy of John’s maternal great-grandfather, Joseph Heber Lowe –

Genealogies of John’s maternal great-grandmother, Mary Louisa Belnap –

Genealogy of John’s maternal great-grandfather, Charles Clinton Lowry –

Genealogy of John’s maternal great-great-grandfather, Thomas Jefferson Whitsett (focusing on his own father’s side) –

Photo by Prphotos

12 Responses

  1. ashash says:

    John Mellencamp claims his great-grandmother is black in this interview with Howard Stern. It is at 50:17.

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